Location: Horticultural Crops Research UnitTitle: Erythritol combined with a novel non-nutritive phagostimulant, sucralose, induces drosophila suzukii mortality and reduces oviposition
Submitted to: Crop Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2021
Publication Date: 8/28/2021
Citation: Price, B.E., Lee, J.C., Choi, M.Y. 2021. Erythritol combined with a novel non-nutritive phagostimulant, sucralose, induces drosophila suzukii mortality and reduces oviposition. Crop Protection. 150:December 2021, 105812. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cropro.2021.105812.
Interpretive Summary: The insect pest, spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii, can potentially cause $718 million in crop losses in small fruits and cherries each year. Current chemical control measures have negative impacts on the environment, and alternative controls are often costly or labor-intensive. We discovered that a mixture of two non-sugar sweeteners can increase SWD death, lowers the reproduction of females before they die, and has a less sticky formulation for sprays. This formulation is non-toxic to humans, the ingredients are readily available, and is easier for growers to adopt than other labor-intensive measures. Next, we are investigating whether this safe and conveniently applied formulation is useful in field applications.
Technical Abstract: Drosophila suzukii, spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), is a pest of small fruits often managed by chemical insecticides, and finding a convenient non-toxic alternative is a challenge. Erythritol, a non-caloric sugar, is safe for humans and toxic to D. suzukii by causing a hyperosmotic imbalance. Combining erythritol with sucrose as a phagostimulant can enhance fly mortality. However, sucrose is sticky when applied on plants, and provides flies with nutritional carbohydrate if a non-lethal dose is ingested. Therefore, our objectives were to find a sucrose alternative, a non-caloric sugar that also has phagostimulative properties. We found that: 1) sucralose is phagostimulative to D. suzukii, 2) 0.1M sucralose was fed on readily by D. suzukii and enhanced feeding on erythritol when in a 1.5M erythritol: 0.1M sucralose (E:Sul) formulation, 3) erythritol and sucralose coated berries deter oviposition, and 4) erythritol:sucralose formulation induces fast mortality. Given the potential of E:Sul, additional studies on the effect of sucralose on sugar osmoregulation, metabolism, and field efficacy are underway to provide growers an efficacious control tool.